Folks in “Little Haiti” Reflect On President Moïse’s Assassination, One Week On


Within the early morning of July 7, Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his residence simply outdoors the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince. 

Moïse had not been a well-liked president. 

He gained the workplace by a slim margin within the November 2016 election, wherein solely 21% of voters confirmed as much as the polls. Since taking workplace, Moïse had confronted sustained calls to resign. As an alternative, when his time period resulted in February, he refused to step down amidst huge protests over fast inflation, fuel shortages, blackouts, and rising crime with some demonstrations numbering within the hundreds.   

However within the days following his execution-style slaying contained in the presidential compound, as he slept alongside his spouse, Martine, with their three kids simply down the corridor, many Haitians around the globe, together with New York Metropolis, are expressing their shock, anger, and grief.

“They murdered our president: this can be a very severe, horrible crime,” Solange, a Haitian-American dwelling in Brooklyn who withheld her final identify, mentioned to Gothamist/WNYC in each French and Creole. “And our folks gained’t transfer on as a result of we have no idea who is absolutely behind it.” 

Moïse was shot 12 occasions by closely armed assailants. His spouse was additionally shot and wounded however is recovering from her accidents. The Moïse kids, Jomarlie, Jovenel Jr., and Joverlein, reportedly survived by hiding from the gunmen. Nobody apart from Moïse and his spouse have been injured within the assaults.

In terms of therapeutic, Solange spoke of the historical past of resilience throughout the Haitian group. 

“It’s as much as us to carry the folks behind this crime accountable,” she mentioned. “We can not create an setting the place folks can come into the nation to kill somebody like that, somebody who has a household, kids and a spouse.” 

This week, U.S. officers arrived in Haiti to help within the investigation behind the president’s homicide. Up to now, there have been three U.S. residents of Haitian origin who’ve been detained by authorities as suspects within the case, with 21 folks detained total.  

New York is dwelling to the second largest Haitian inhabitants in the US, second solely to Florida. Brooklyn has greater than 90,000 Haitian-American residents and, in 2018, the New York Metropolis Council handed a decision designating Flatbush, “Little Haiti.”

And, as in Haiti, the president had his supporters—together with Jean Petit in Flatbush. 

“I beloved him with all my coronary heart,” Petit mentioned to Gothamist in French. “He was a person who was serving the group and a real man of the folks.” 

But some Haitian People in Brooklyn, no matter their stances, have taken a vow of silence on the subject of talking to the media about politics. Professor of sociology at Brooklyn School and founding director of the CUNY Haitian Research Institute Jean Eddy Saint Paul acknowledged that phenomenon and believes it to be a mixture of each warning and concern. 

“We in the neighborhood, we don’t know who actually is a journalist and who’re folks getting paid by the federal government to unfold propaganda,” Saint Paul mentioned. “The media’s reporting on Haiti has at all times been out of context.” 

An instance Saint Paul used: whereas the nation’s flailing economic system is at all times on the information, constructive tales by no means are. The place, he asks, are the tales about, “the one profitable anti-slavery revolution in historical past that happened in Haiti.”

“We fought and beat again an empire,” Saint Paul added. “However we by no means get that narrative proven on TV or on a mainstream platform.” 

However again in Little Haiti, some, like Solange, have determined that talking out about her dwelling nation’s political stability is one of the simplest ways to maneuver ahead. 

“This is rather like what occurred to [Jean-Jacques] Dessalines and we have to have our justice,” she mentioned, referring to the assassination of Haiti’s first head of state, and chief of the slave revolution, in 1806. “It’s occurred earlier than, however we won’t permit this to occur once more.”

Joseph Gedeon reported this story for the Gothamist/WNYC’s Race & Justice Unit. When you’ve got a tip, some information, or a narrative concept, electronic mail him at or attain out on Twitter @JGedeon1.